by Ed Chadwick

A web-based system that allows roundsmen and post offices to accept automatic payments from newspaper subscribers will be the ‘final hurdle’ to removing paper vouchers from the industry.

The free-to-use site will allow retailers who do not have electronic payment terminals to receive automatic payments by registering a unique number issued by publishers on a letter or card to new subscribers.

Trials have begun with the Financial Times and The Guardian is ready to use the model to convert more of its readers to subscriptions this summer.

The retailer’s account will be credited each week and withdrawals can be made at any time for a 60p charge to cover banking.

There will be an app for smartphones and digital voucher specialist i-movo believes that the system will mean more than 95% of retailers will be able to process paperless subscriptions, compared to just 75% at present.

[pull_quote_right]The final hurdle for digital subscriptions is the fact that
coverage of payment terminals hasn’t been comprehensive,
but we believe that this system changes that[/pull_quote_right]

i-movo chief executive David Tymm said roundsmen without retail premises, small kiosks and post offices who are precluded from operating payment terminals will all be able to wave goodbye to paper vouchers and work on more promotions.

“The industry wants to get rid of paper vouchers,” he said.

“The final hurdle for digital subscriptions is the fact that coverage of payment terminals hasn’t been comprehensive, but we believe that this system changes that.

“Digital means subscriptions can be tailored to run three days a week or offer casual readers a discount.

“Once the code has been inputted into the system it credits the retailer automatically week by week.”

Wiltshire retailer Myles Earle said he welcomed anything that removed the burden of counting and submitting vouchers.

“I like the sound of it, but I believe that we should continue to be paid for handling vouchers,” he said.

How long do you spend counting paper vouchers each week?
Tell us below: